Westboro Baptist Church members have upset many across the country with their protests, but one governor has finally decided to take a stand against them.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has threatened to arrest any member of the hate group that attempts to protest the funerals in his state for victims of the recent Lafayette theater shooting, reports The Huffington Post.
"If they come here to Louisiana, if they try to disrupt this funeral, we're going to lock them up," Jindal, the Republican presidential hopeful, recently explained on the CBS show "Face The Nation,” reports The Huffington Post. "We're going to arrest them. They shouldn't try that in Louisiana. We won't abide by that here. Let these families grieve."
As indicated on its social media pages, the church still plans to visit the funerals. Westboro members believe God acts through mass shootings as vengeance for sinners. John Russell Houser, the shooter in the Lafayette movie theater incident on July 23 which left two people dead and nine injured, was allegedly a Westboro sympathizer, documents The Huffington Post.
Jindal issued an executive order to prevent any potential protests. Additionally, thousands of Lafayette residents have pledged to form a human wall around the funerals to block the Westboro members, according to The Huffington Post.
While many believe the group’s messages are insensitive and distasteful, one group has come to the defense of the church. The American Civil Liberties Union criticizes the Louisiana governor for ignoring Westboro’s constitutional rights.
"Governor Jindal's Executive Order ... is misguided and has the potential to be used to infringe on protesters’' First Amendment rights," the ACLU explained in a statement, reports The Times-Picayune.
Mentioning the Louisiana law that keeps any protesters 300 to 500 feet away from funerals, the ACLU added, "Gov. Jindal would have better protected these families by saying nothing at all, and allowing the police to enforce the rule as written."
Westboro Baptist Church members also recently tried to protest memorials of the victims of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, shooting, but instead, a large crowd of counter protesters greeted group, reports the Times Free Press.